Saturday, October 11, 2008

part 2

So finally my old glasses are so scratched I can hardly see out of them even if the prescription was still appropriate, which it's not. I seem to be developing good old age-related farsightedness on top of my lifelong nearsightedness and maybe it's time for bifocals (ugh!). This is aside from the scary right eye vision loss. And on top of all that I know I'm going to have to qualify again at the rifle range soon for my job. I haven't had to do that since before the vision loss started. I'll never qualify with my eyesight the way it is now, and my glasses all scratched up and outdated. It's time to bite the bullet. I have to get new glasses. I have to face reality in an eye doctor's office.

Of course I don't have a regular eye doctor, as I don't have a regular anything else doctor either. But one of my co-workers has this eye doctor who she says is an absolute artist when it comes to fitting you with the correct prescription, so off I go to this wonderfully sweet, kind, gentle, soft-spoken Korean eye doctor. She does all the usual tests and then some others I've never had before. She puts in the drops and shines the bright lights (which glare excruciatingly in my hyper-sensitive left eye, and, frighteningly, disappear completely in my half-blind right eye). She has me look into the thing like a video game and hit the clicker every time I see a light wink in my peripheral vision. She only has me do it with my good eye, though. I'm thinking I could have done it with my bad eye as well - I still do have peripheral vision with that one, after all.

Dr. Ma is very concerned. "Your left eye is better than your last prescription" she tells me. "And the optic nerve is very healthy. But your right eye - " She pauses. She is trying to break it to me gently. She's so sweet. I know it's serious. I've known it for a long time. I was just too chicken to find out before now. But now I'm ready. Better late than never, eh? "Your right optic nerve is - very ill" she says.

"Very ill." Aw. That's such a mild way of putting it. She wants me to come back tomorrow (tomorrow!) and see her colleague who has more expertise "with these sorts of cases".

Okay. So I take a half day off which ends up being a half day + an extra 45 minutes (good thing my boss is a fairly flexible type), and I sit through another eye exam. More drops, more excruciatingly bright lights, and I have to wear a protective film strip behind my glasses for the rest of the day to protect my dilated pupils. Shit, if I'd known it was going to be like this, I would have made the appointment for the end of the day instead of for lunchtime!

So after all this, the colleague with the expertise tells me that my right eyeball is stuck, not rotating properly, and something is causing "a problem" with the optic nerve. It might be a thyroid problem, it might be a "mass". He doesn't want to say "brain tumor". He doesn't want to scare me. He doesn't want to say anything definitive without further tests. "You should probably get an MRI" he says. He's going to refer me to a neuro-opthalmologist.

My health insurance is a PPO instead of an HMO. "That's good" he says. "This way we can send you where we want." The one they want to send me to has an office 15 minutes from my apartment. But he's booked up months in advance. The expertise colleague calls the office and wangles me an appointment for next week.

"Can I still get new glasses?" I ask. "I really need new glasses, look at these!" "No, I don't want you to throw your money away if your vision might improve" he said, and sent me off to the neuro-opthalmologist.

So I still need new glasses!

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